The Constitutional Court is expected to rule before Friday, the date that Parliament set to vote on whether or not to remove the president, although that possibility has lost force.
Peru remained trapped in a political crisis on Monday after the government of President Martín Vizcarra petitioned the Constitutional Court to suspend a presidential impeachment process for “permanent moral incapacity” that Congress initiated him five days ago.
The Court is expected to rule before Friday, the date that Parliament set for vote whether or not to remove the president after the broadcast of an audio where the president supposedly plans a strategy to respond to an investigation into the hiring in the government of an acquaintance of his, the opaque singer Richard Swing.
Vizcarra has been in power since March 2018 without a parliamentary bench after replacing the then president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, of whom he was vice president.
Luis Huerta, a government lawyer, told the press that the lawsuit seeks to prevent the vacancy from being used by Congress “arbitrarily” to shorten the presidential term, which in the case of Vizcarra It should end on July 28, 2021.
The Constitution allows dismissal for “permanent moral incapacity,” but experts say that the interpretation is very broad and could be used according to the convenience of the user.
The “permanent moral incapacity” was incorporated in the 19th century to the Peruvian laws, but at that time the meaning of “moral incapacity” was linked to mental incapacity, not to a questioned type of behavior, as it is understood now.
The last days were peppered with friction between the two powers of the State. On Saturday the Minister of Defense, Jorge Chávez, confirmed that the President of Congress, Manuel Merino, called two military chiefs to inform them that a presidential vacancy process was going to take place.
“The attitude of the president of Congress has been reckless in trying to involve the armed forces in a political process, ” said Chávez, who is a retired army general. The president of Congress admitted to calling, but argued that it was to give “peace of mind” to the Armed Forces in the face of the crisis.
The political crisis adds to the health and economic crisis that the country is experiencing due to the new coronavirus, which since March has caused 30,710 deaths and 729,619 infected. Peru is suffering a severe recession and the economic downturn in 2020 will be the third worst in the world, according to the World Bank.
In a message on TV, Vizcarra accused the head of Congress, Manuel Merino, of “conspiracy”, reporting that not only did he communicate with the commander-in-chief of the Navy and tried to do the same with other high command of the Armed Forces, but also who had already planned “pseudo Cabinets”.
“Why has the President of Congress dealt with and communicated with high military commanders, even planned pseudo cabinets of those who would take over after my vacancy? That is a conspiracy, gentlemen, ”he stated in a statement he gave this afternoon at the Government Palace.
Vizcarra added that he trusts that “the true democratic forces they will not allow ”his removal.
After the diffusion of the audios, starring his former assistant Karem Roca, the president oapologized and pointed out that there was “betrayal of someone close to me.”
“I must say that what is here is the betrayal of someone close to me. It makes me sad and, in addition to disappointment, I regret to say that this is a situation of a personal nature that has transcended the political scene and has been taken advantage of by obscure characters, ”he exclaimed.
He also referred to the call that the president of Congress, Manuel Merino, made to the high command of the Armed Forces and remarked that it is a “conspiracy.” “That is why I trust that the true democratic forces will not allow this to happen,” he remarked.
Source: AP, EFE and Clarín